Monday, February 7, 2011

Are You Armed With Peanut Butter?: Surprising Things That Trigger the Airport Security Alarms

(image: Atlanta Herald)
Budget Travel reports that some surprising things can trigger airport security alarms and what to do about it. These items are harmless but they put security officers on high alert.

Aluminum Foil Wrappers
Caught by the metal detector. Manufacturers of gum, candy and cigarettes have made the transition from metallic to paper but hold-outs can single you out at airport checkpoints.
What to do: Empty your pockets of all foil before walking through the metal detector.

Retractable keys
Some can look like small knives in an X-ray image when extended.
What to do: Retract the keys before placing them on the X-ray conveyor belt.

Caught by the metal detector. Metal constitutes the frame of many headbands.
What to do: Send this hair accessory through the X-ray with your carry-on bags.

Snow Globes
The liquid contents of most crystal balls surpass the 3.4-ounce limit and not allowed.
What to do: Pack it carefully in your checked bag.

Aerosol products appears to violate the rules regarding liquids, gels and aerosols. But because these objects are required for medical reasons, they are exempt from restriction.
What to do: To avoid unwanted questioning, inform the officers in advance. It will speed things up if medications are properly labeled.

Jars of Peanut Butter
Caught by screeners. Is it a gel? It can't be a liquid? But if it conforms to the shape of a container like toothpaste, the item will be flagged.
What to do: Check it or make a peanut butter sandwich instead.
(image: Minamoto Kitchoan)
Other objects listed in the report include underwire bras (the article's author says to check it and sport a comfortable model for the flight) and small alcohol bottles. I'm going to add one to this list: Cake. In a recent trip I purchased a small box containing slices of a Japanese cake. It was prepackaged so it was not something that was just bought from the bakery. The security officer scrutinized it short of opening it. But from the squeezing of the box by the officer, I'm surprised it made it out of security undamaged.

The jars of peanut butter would have sounded unusual but when visiting New York I usually bring back a bottle of Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams sold in their shop and select retailers. Available across the mainland USA, it is currently unavailable in my home state of Hawaii.


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